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Op-Ed

The 2021 holiday gift guide

December 13, 2021

It’s that time of year again when many of you are at your wit’s end trying to come with gift ideas for those near and dear who won’t be pleased with something boring. Good thing I’m here to help.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

It’s the holiday season and you know what that means: it’s time for my annual gift-giving guide for those of you who need inspiration. Let’s see if we can top last year’s list.

A framed copy of the patent application for the toothbrush. This is a must for the intellectual property and dental hygiene fans in your life. You can hang it in your bathroom to remind you to brush.

A Scales of Justice bottle of booze with glasses. Help your clients relax in style so they won’t notice that most of what you’re saying is nonsense. Or toast a victory in court while pretending it had something to do with justice.

"The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles." Brush up on trial tactics and investigative skills with this enlightening computer tutorial. Did you know that a katana could be useful in court? Shouldn’t your research assistant wear a kimono?

A bespoke artisanal barrister wig. You won’t be able to resist when you read the description: “Our wigs are hand made from the hair of Mongolian ponies and Australian Brumbies, which are the highest quality of horsehair available in the world. The hair used to make the wigs are retrieved using natural methods of cutting….” No duct tape was stripped off horse backs.

"Street Judge," a novel by TV judge Greg Mathis. The lucky recipients of this gift will find out in detail what a judge’s life is really like – when he “sets out on the streets” to solve the fictional mystery of a woman who lost her head. (Spoiler: it turns out her head was a few blocks away.) Publisher’s Weekly notes: “Unfortunately, the author talks too much about himself.”

Your very own gavel with a personally engraved stand. Fans of the "The Good Fight" will appreciate this one. You can set up your own court in your living room and look official doing it.

An award for anything. Who doesn’t like getting awards? This is the special gift for the most egotistical of your friends. Prepare to listen to thank-you speeches.

A Slytherin face mask. If your lawyer friend wasn’t intimidating before, they will be now with the mark of Slytherin on their face. Robes and wands not included.

Ganjaland. This may or may not be a great game but it doesn’t matter. From the product description: “Stock up on some munchies and get ready for a quest you likely won’t remember correctly anyway.”

Millard Fillmore socks. The perfect gift for fans of one of our most forgettable U.S. presidents. President Fillmore will finally get the recognition he deserves when friends ask what’s on your feet.

Double take. Here’s a sentence you never thought you’d find in a federal court ruling: “This case is about whether the St. Louis Post-Dispatch illegally charged Plaintiff twice for the same newspaper.”

I know newspaper prices have gone up, but if they’re worth filing a federal lawsuit over, they’re probably overpriced. No wonder they’re having circulation problems.

It gets weirder. The ruling by a federal judge in Missouri starts out by telling us that after conducting discovery the plaintiff learned he wasn’t being double-charged. He just didn’t understand how the billing worked. Somehow, the lawsuit remained in court, necessitating a 12-page ruling.

I guess the lesson here is that if you don’t understand billing, you probably won’t understand suing either.

I should note here that this is not an unusual occurrence. Last week, for example, also brought us this sentence from a federal judge’s ruling in Texas: “Because Plaintiff fails to allege that a foreclosure occurred, he cannot meet the elements of ‘wrongful foreclosure.’”

One should wait until something happens before suing.

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